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It’s not just a rumor. 5.45x39mm Russian steel core ammunition is banned by BAFTE. Because of the agency’s convoluted definition, the AK-74 round is now considered armor piercing. However, we—the gun community—might be able to create an exemption. How, you ask? Read for more information and how you can stop the ban.
I was in the market for an AK (Avtomat Kalashnikova). The primary reason was that it was one platform that is noticeably absent in my safes; a hole that needs to be plugged. This led to an extensive investigation of AK offerings and a choice between the AK-47 and AK-74. “Besides honey, this isn’t just for fun, this is work.” That was the basic gist of the conversation when my wife caught me browsing sales fliers for new AKs.
The AK-74 shares many similarities with its parent, the AK-47. Not wanting to do away with the incredibly reliable AK platform, the Soviets rechambered the barrel in 5.45, and left the cartridge length the same at 39mm so that the action could stay largely unchanged. Both rifles use the same gas piston system, as well as the same rotating bolt locking mechanism. The bolt system runs on identical rails as the AKM/AK-47, but the bolt itself is slightly smaller to accommodate the smaller cartridge. It is also lighter, making it more efficient and further reducing recoil. The AK-74 also features a larger and stronger extractor than the AKM extractor, which was prone to failure.